Mathematics Immersion Programme, Hong Kong
Just as the morning sun rises on the 14th of November, 20 year four students, 3 teachers and 1 trainer, are already eagerly awaiting for their flight at Changi Airport to Hong Kong. This day marks the start of a 5-day Financial Literacy programme to Hong Kong.
The objective of this programme aims to broaden our horizons in the area of banking and finance; apart from exploring the differences between the Hong Kong and Singapore business industry, we will also get to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of innovation through interaction with local entrepreneurs and visiting their start-up companies.
With that said, our first stop upon reaching Hong Kong is non-other than the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. Here, we met fellow countrymen, Mr Kow Ping (Director, WDB101) and Mr Bernard Tan (Chief Technology Officer, Cenique), who shared on their start-up journey here in Hong Kong.
Day 2 started off at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where we visited the School of Hotel and Tourism Management, School of Design and Hotel Icon. It gets better with lunch at Bistro 1979, a cafeteria where the students put their skills to the test.
After the crash course on hospitality in the morning, we visited Li&Fung, where they shared on their business structures, and also learnt from Mr Samuel, Octo3, a financial technological start-up.
Things just gets better on Day 3 when we visited our twinning school – Po Leung Kuk Ngan Po Ling College. Within the short 4 hours, we visited every corner of the school, including their their astronomy dome! We also attended Mathematics lesson with them to experience first-hand how lessons were conducted in Hong Kong. Nothing beats the interaction time with the local students, which allow us to better understand the similarities and differences in the education system between our two countries.
Heard of ‘Sino Land’? How about the ‘Far East Group’? Do you know how they are related? Our group even got to visit ‘The Avenue’, one of their current exquisite projects in Tsim Sha Tsui! The trip will never be complete without a visit to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (in the Central) and the Sky100 Observation Deck (at the International Commerce Centre).
The trip is definitely not just work, and no play… After 3 intensive days of visits and learning, we spent the morning attending the Disneyland Youth Education Series Program before relaxing at the theme park for the day.
Finally, on day 5, we have our finale – the Shark Tank project. For the past 2 weeks, all 4 groups were tasked to come up with an innovative idea and conceptualise a start-up company, which we had to present to investors and entrepreneurs today. This project encompassed all that we have learnt over the past few days and honed our critical thinking skills.
Phew! All in all, it was an inspiring and enjoyable trip, where new friendships were forged and great memories were created. Would you want to be part of this journey like us next year too?
Let’s also hear from 2 of our participants:
This trip has widened my horizons through exposure to other start-up companies and the personal, engaging sessions we have had with the entrepreneurs. It has given me an insight into the lives of entrepreneur and my biggest takeaway is that an immense amount of passion and dedication is needed to start a business.
Before the Shark Tank presentation, hearing the advice and sharing by the entrepreneurs showed me that we should not be afraid to try new things and venture out of our comfort zone. Aside from that, establishing connections is also crucial to the success of a company.
At the Hong Kong Science Park, we saw the products the entrepreneurs created and it opened my eyes to the endless possibilities ahead of us if we choose to seize it. I learnt that everything is a double edged sword and you can only learn to turn every chanced encounter into an opportunity for yourself.
Hence, one should always be prepared for then we will not lose the opportunity. Learning from mentors can also be a huge stepping stone because someone is there to help and guide you and give honest opinions.
This trip has been fulfilling and it has shown me that the obstacles to your route to success only makes success itself sweeter. Although it is not easy, working and fighting for something you believe in makes the hard work worth it.
16Y4B Loh Jia Wen
Through this immersion trip, I have gained much invaluable experience which the classroom can never offer. It really opened my eyes to the world of banking and finance.
Through visits to companies and listening to the invaluable presentations and sharings from entrepreneurs, I have not only learnt how businesses and start-up companies work, and also the many values to live by. For instance, the visit to Li&Fung taught me that for a business to prosper, having good values as a foundation is instrumental.
The trip definitely exposed me to the different career paths that are available and allowed me to see the endless possibilities which innovation can bring about. Through getting to know how start-up companies are created, I have learnt that opportunities often come when you least expect it and it takes courage to seize the opportunity and make breakthroughs. The sharing at Octo3 made me realise that if one were to wait until “the time is right”, he is bound to miss out on opportunities. A person is never fully prepared to start something new but taking the first step is always a step in the right direction.
16Y4G Tan Jia Wei